Council extends Emergency Support Scheme

Published on: Friday, 18-March-2016

Knowsley Council has committed to extending its Emergency Support Scheme for the borough’s most vulnerable residents, despite losing Government funding.

The council established the scheme in 2013 to support residents in desperate need of food or domestic fuel.

It followed the Government’s decision to abolish the Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants.

Residents may be eligible to make a claim to the Emergency Support Scheme if they are in receipt of means-tested benefits and have experienced:

An emergency which has left them without food or without gas or electricity in their home.

A major upheaval or crisis and need help to settle back into, or remain living in, the community.

Since the scheme was introduced, vulnerable Knowsley residents have made 5,042 successful applications for food vouchers, fuel vouchers and - in exceptional circumstances - essential items of furniture.

Knowsley Council has confirmed that it will again fund the £400,000 cost of the Emergency Support Scheme in 2016/17. This includes a debt advisor working alongside the team to provide residents with debt and budgeting advice.

Cllr Bill Weightman, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance, said: "I’m pleased that we are continuing to provide this essential scheme to support the most vulnerable residents in Knowsley. It has proven to be a valuable safety net for people who find themselves in genuine crisis and hardship.

"It is horribly ironic that the Government has cut funding for such vital emergency support, when it is their welfare reforms that are largely responsible for so many residents actually needing it.

"This situation will only get bleaker, as we understand that the Government has now confirmed its cuts to work allowances within Universal Credit from 1 April 2016 which could leave some residents up to £220 worse off each month. This is yet another brutal Government cut which will take money away from the people who need it the most.

"Through the Emergency Support Scheme and other measures, we will continue to support our residents and focus on the preventative work we can do to tackle underlying issues across the borough."

NOTE:

Residents who are eligible will receive a food voucher/parcel and/or a fuel voucher. Each award could include up to nine days’ worth of food/fuel and residents can’t have two awards in any 12 month period.

Examples of a major upheaval or crisis include leaving care, becoming homeless, leaving temporary accommodation or to avoid entering care. If eligible, the resident will be provided with essential furniture, but may not receive support above the value of £1,000 over a three year period.

Residents can apply by ringing 0800 408 2014.